Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Locals arrested in India now face ammunition charges

BY COLBY FRAZIER
DAILY SOUND STAFF WRITER

Two Santa Barbara women were charged yesterday in an Indian court under the Indian Arms Act for attempting to board a flight with several rounds of 9 mm ammunition and could face prison terms ranging from three to seven years if convicted, The Telegraph, a daily newspaper in Calcutta reported.
The women, Monica Bond, 57, and Heather K. Bond, 37, had been traveling in India for the past month before being detained on Sunday in an airport near Darjeeling.

Lawrence Bond, Monica Bond’s husband, said the last time he spoke with his wife was Monday night at 10:30 Pacific Standard Time, as the two women were officially being arrested. He said they had been detained near the airport for nearly 24 hours before their arrest.
The ammunition was found in a piece of luggage owned by Heather Bond. Sean McGaughey, Heather Bond’s boyfriend, said the clip of 9 mm bullets that was found belongs to him. He said he and Heather carry weapons when they camp in the backcountry near Santa Barbara and the clip must have gotten into her bag by mistake.
But that doesn’t explain why the clip wasn’t discovered earlier by security in at least four different airports, including LAX.
Lawrence Bond said this is likely the cause of the hang-up for Indian officials, who are trying to understand where and how the two women came across the clip.
“They’ve got to find a way out and save face,” he said. “I’m assuming that they might just decide to make my daughter and my wife scapegoats by doing something silly. I mean that’s my concern.”
According to The Telegraph story, the two women noticed the ammunition in the baggage before heading to the airport, but opted to leave it alone.
McGaughey said he has faxed Indian authorities the license for his 9 mm pistol and other documentation as well.
The Telegraph story said the two women have been assigned an attorney, who will appear on the women’s behalf during a hearing scheduled for Friday.
Lawrence Bond said he’s been contacted by Rep. Lois Capps, who told him she would attempt to do everything she could to help resolve the situation.
A spokeswoman in Capps’ Washington, D.C. office said she couldn’t comment on the congresswoman’s involvement.
Attempts to reach the U.S. State Department for comment were unsuccessful and a spokeswoman for the FBI said the bureau wasn’t handling the case.
Embassy officials told Lawrence Bond they were on their way to the jail yesterday to meet with the women.
He said everything appears to be moving in the right direction, but that’s how he felt on Monday night prior to the official arrests.
“We just keep hoping that at the next court appearance they’re just going to throw in the towel,” he said of the Indian officials.

6 comments:

Jim said...

"Throw in the towel" -
No pun intended ?

Anonymous said...

Why do they feel they are above the law in India?

Anonymous said...

If the clip was found in some Indian's baggage at LAX, he'd be in Gitmo by now (even if he had "thrown in his towel").

Anonymous said...

"Mom, should I just leave this live ammo here in the suitcase next to my hash pipe?"

Anonymous said...

Last night on State Street I saw a man who said he was Monica Bond's son harassing pedestrians for signatures on a petition. I was going to go over, hear his story, and possibly sign his petition. But after seeing how he treated people who did not respond to his requests ("I hope your Mom ends up in prison!"), I lost any desire to help or even listen. "Son" -- if you are listening, that ain't the way to make friends and influence people.

Delene said...

I went to high school with Heather and also know her boyfriend very well. She is an upstanding citizen that made a HUGE mistake by accident. It is one of those things that could happen to anyone and if it was someone you love and care about, you would want them home safely. They are good women who were only enjoying a nice vacation between a mother and daughter. If the people who are being negative about what they did or how Sean is "acting" on state street, they should consider his position....HELPLESS. People should not be so heartless when this family needs major support from fellow AMERICANS.